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From Around the Internet

Teddy Ray has very quickly become another of my new favorite United Methodist bloggers. Over the weekend he posted this: You need a class meeting, and an update of “The Nature, Design, and General Rules of the United Societies”. He writes:

I’ve written before on 4 questions to ask and be asked every week. I participate in a group that asks each other those questions – or something to get at the same – each week. It has been the single most important practice I’ve kept as part of my Christian growth in the past two years. See those questions in “How is it with your soul?” and “2 more questions to ask and be asked every week.”Those questions, and the groups we’re asking them in, stem from a very early Methodist practice called the “class meeting.” A practice that was at the heart of the Methodist movement/explosion in 18th century England and then in America. A practice that The United Methodist Church has all but forgotten today. A practice that I think could be incredibly life-giving for you, and full of potential for renewal in the church.

He follows that up with a updated rendering (translation from old 18th Century style English) of “The Nature, Design, and General Rules of the United Societies.” He has also been working on updates of John Wesley’s Standard Sermons.

Derek Ouellette has been reading Justin Lee’s book Torn. He says (on March 10) he’s only halfway — and through he thinks he’s not going to like it when Justin starts to argue in favor of gay marriage — nonetheless he says:

When I discovered last week that Torn is not being actively recommended to evangelical bookstores by its suppliers, I reacted in shock. I believe – at this interim – that Torn is the most important book I’ve read on the subject of homosexuality and the church. I think, if we were to cut the book off at where I am at in it, that every evangelical pastor and church leader ought to read this book. Yes, it’s that important. I also think anybody interested in this discussion – which is to say, everybody who has an opinion about homosexuality and the church – needs to read this book.

You might want to head over to his blog and read his reactions to the book so far:
TORN - An Interim Report.

Another great blog to be aware of (if you’re not already) is Ed Cyzewski’s blog :: In.a.Mirror.Dimly :: Ed is a fine writer and a thoughtful Christian. He is always worth reading. I see he has just begun a series on “3 Impossible Things for Evangelicals.” The first entry is entitled: It’s Biblically Impossible to Be Biblical. He says:

While “biblical” could technically mean “influenced by the Bible,” it has become a code word for “possessing the one and only way to interpret the Bible on a particular issue.” In our zeal to follow the teachings of scripture, we have sought a definitive, once and for all time way to read a book that has always been a work in progress.In one sense, we all want to be guided and informed by the Bible. However, the pursuit of being biblical more often turns into: “I know God’s definitive and authoritative perspective, you better agree with me, or you’re going to be unbiblical.”

Well, Rob Bell was in Grand Rapids at the Mars Hill Bible Church last Sunday but Robin & I missed him. I was preaching that Sunday at the CrossWind Community Church in Dorr. Robin attempted to make it — she got there from work just in time for the early service, found it to be standing room only — but got called back to work. So, she missed it too. Rob had a book signing at Shuler Books, in town, and I missed that. (It’s just as well, I don’t really like crowds.) But, Charles Honey, long time religion reporter for the Grand Rapids Press has posted an article about of Rob’s new book: Rob Bell's new book is for people who want 'a God they can believe in’. He says:

Having read Bell’s other books, I readily recommend this one if you are curious about his topic. There’s no doubt he speaks most clearly to younger readers who get his language and worldview. But in his integration of science and faith, sacred and secular, and the everyday world with a God of mystery, Bell has something valuable to offer anyone on a serious spiritual search.

Rob gave a sermon on “Sloth” as a part of the Church’s Seven Deadly Sins series. It isn’t up on the Church’s podcast page yet, but I’m sure it will be soon.

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